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Entries about parks

Sleep Deprived In Portland

On Sleep Deprivation, The Chinese Gardens, Powell's City of Books, Old Town Pizza, and Moments in Portland

It’s October 23rd, 2011, and I have been awake for 23 hours straight. The fun began seven hours ago when I helped dock the ship to the floating dock down in River Front Place near downtown Portland. After docking, I realized I technically was off duty, but I stayed on, as there was luggage to move from the ship to the dock. The easiest way is to hand it down from the upper deck to the main deck through a gate. This involves many spinal compressions, as travellers are apt to bring their antique typewriters and cast iron stoves on cruises; I don’t know why. I was the catcher, as I have some height to me, and am all right with hard work.

My good deed has cost me 10 minutes of my time. I feel good however, as the process went much more smoothly than without me. Luggage sucks when you are a guy down.

I went to my room, decided on a shower, refreshed with eucalyptus. Koala bears know what is good.

I leave the boat heading to the nearby coffee shop for some Stumptown, perhaps one of the world’s great coffees, and a cinnamon roll. I have a weakness for cinnamon rolls. I monkey around on the internet, posting a blog, making some inane commentary about my day on facebook, pull ahead of my brother in a game of scrabble, and snap my computer closed. The lighting is getting good.
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I amble back to the ship. I grab my camera, tripod, and offload my computer. I call my brother and I’m gone. I find a park bench lit up in perfect lighting. I have to photograph this light, as it is perfect. Not only that, but I’ve been waiting to compose this bench all season. I settle in, take my self-portrait, and enjoy the scene. It smells faintly of pee from the bums that sleep here at night, but the lighting remains beautiful. I call my brother back and the conversation resumes. It’s a good one. I haven’t talked to my brother in quite some time, and it is good to catch up, to philosophize, to laugh aloud, to reconnect, to be brothers.

I pick up and walk. I head towards Chinatown. I remember something about gardens, and I would like to see them. I’m wandering. Runners run. Biker’s bike. Good looking people look good. Frumpy looking people eye me frumpily. Nobody says, “Hello, may your day go well for you.” No matter, I’m lost in the conversation.

I find the gardens with little trouble. Pretty much the first place I looked. Damn, I’m good. At this point, I have been up for 18 and a half hours and feeling good. My phone battery is dying, and I’m dying, and I want to see the gardens before I die. So I say farewell to my brother who is drinking wine in a soft rain by a slightly silted river in central Minnesota.
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I enter the gardens, pay my fee, and say thank you to the garden hosts. The hosts are garden loving people and they remind me of plants by their quietness and composure. I let my senses take over. The gardens are wonderful. They offer a concoction that is irresistible to my senses. It smells fresh. Fragrant plants are important to a good Chinese garden. It is beautifully simplistic in some areas, strikingly complicated in others. The Chinese are into harmony, the yin to the yang, the tall to the short, the wet to the dry, the dark to the light. Every space has balance and beauty in nature. I’m smitten. I get it. My mind thinks. “I wish the surrounding city was silent. I wish the imposing neighborhood buildings weren’t so tall. I wish I were hanging out in classical Chinese gardens in midmorning without a care in the world. “HA! I am exactly where I want to be, and I’m happy.
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The koi fish are rascals, beautiful as dragons, swimming in erratic designs through the pond. The are intriguing, colorful, and hard to photograph. I follow them across the pond attempting to catch them off guard, but it’s impossible. I leave them be.
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The garden is wonderful. The pamphlet tells me this is the best example of classical Chinese gardens outside of China. I take out my camera and search the chambers closer than I could with my eye. I was looking and freezing the Zen moments that poured out of every chamber of this garden, and I was satisfied. I love taking photos, but I’ll not dissect that subject today. I walked through the garden twice, meandering a path in one direction and backtracking the same path in reverse. I pause to sit beneath a quiet tree in the Hall of Scholars.
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I decided to go and buy Frank Herbert’s "Dune" from Powell’s. It is a pleasant walk along streets I haven’t visited before. I cross through the park and take more photos of the elephant. When thinking of perfect conditions, I was hoping for rain. These elephants would look quite good in a gloom with nobody about, but alas, not today. I walk west along Burnside, pass the auto mart, and ignore the noisy traffic. There it is, Powell’s City off Books. I think I hear a chorus of angels singing.

On my entrance, I realize there is a handicapped person in a wheel chair with their family in tow behind me. I hold the door for them. Then I hold it for three more people leaving. They say, “Thank you,” I say, “You’re welcome.” A warm feeling buzzes around us.

I walk into the tall shelves of books. I know where I’m going. At least I think I do until I realize I’m in the wrong section. I ask a redundant man pecking at a keyboard which way to science fiction. “Gold Room, on the right.” “Thank you, sir.“ I’m on my way.

Frank Herbert is huge. He has written arguably the best science fiction series in history, and I want to read it. I want to restart with "Dune," and continue. My personal favorite science fiction series is "The Worthing Saga" by Orson Scott Card. I’m keenly interested in "Dune" for some reason. I like Science Fiction but only read it a couple of times a year. I find a copy for six bucks and move on, remembering the name of one more author I like Greg Garrett. He’s only written two books it turns out, and I had already read both of them. Ah well. I leave Powell’s purchasing only one book. It is possible.

Back to the park, to the north end, where the bums lie on benches, the ground, in the shade, and amble by working on their troubles. At this point, I have been up for 21 hours, and I’m looking forward to my pizza date with my fellow deckhands. I have some time to kill before one however, and sit down to read my new book. It goes well, but I’m nagged by the feeling of very deep tiredness, hunger, and the thought that they aren’t going to arrive at the restaurant until 2 pm. I want to be in bed by 3 pm… Not good.

I decide to go to get my pizza. I have to. I’m weary and losing my focus. I wander down Davis St. to Old Town Pizza, and enter. The place is terrific. It’s dark, hardly lit at all except by natural lighting from the front window. It smells good. A bar to my right made of good dark wood and high mirrors. Straight ahead, a politely smiling miss waits to hear my decisions. Looking at the menu, I decide on the following: Classic crust, pepperoni, bell peppers, and roasted garlic. I love roasted garlic. To me this is heaven and soon to be in my possession. I get a glass of wine at the bar and take a seat at an old wrought iron table with wood top. I love the lighting. This building is haunted, so they say, and I can believe it. This is an old building in Old Town, and it feels right for a ghost.
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It also feels right for a pizza, and it wasn’t long before it arrives. I called my friends, told them my plans, and they won’t make it in time. Ah well, I’ve dated myself before, and happily dig into my carbohydrates. It’s a damn good pizza. I eat half. I’m stuffed. I’m happy. I ask for a box. I get one. In the process of putting my leftovers in the box, I spill the last swallow of wine on my jeans. I catch the glass, somehow, and look at my jeans. It appears I wet my pants, and I now smell like wine. I laugh. This is funny. I dab at it with a napkin, cut my losses and exit.

I decide I may as well stagger back to ship and ask bums for pennies. Why not? It’s not too hard to act the part. I forget it when I near my first bum. I’m tired as hell, full, and happy.

I notice the small moments of life along the way home.

A haggard woman steps out of the public ladies room singing a happy song. A man makes out with his woman along the rail where not too long ago, I did the same thing.

A smile begins to form at the corners of my mouth. A smirk. I’m thinking of my wine stained pee pants, and the moments of my day. It’s been a good one, and I feel my face light up into a grin. I chuckle aloud to no one and everyone. Thom knows how to walk through Portland.

Geese give me the stink eye as I walk past the large flock eating grass. I hear the chomping of the blades and think of the shortening of the grass. I see many panhandlers and street people plying their trade. A man will sing you a ditty on his banjo on any subject you offer him. A talented young man plays the violin quite well. He’s not gifted, but he is good, and I toss him a buck. What do I need it for? I move on, swaying down the sidewalk. An odd-looking man in a black leather jacket talks quietly with his friend. I get the feeling he’s shy. He doesn’t strike me as a leather jacket type of guy. I think to myself that everyone has a self-image. Everyone wants to look like there own self-image of themselves. They know how they want the world to perceive them. This is too deep for me. I’ve been up for 22 and a half hours and homing in on the ship. I’m close to my bed.

When I arrive it is 2 pm, and I have been up for 23 hours. I’m completely inspired to write this, and sleep will have to wait. I stand next to my bunk in my underwear and begin typing. I don’t usually write standing up in my underwear, but I’m ok with it. The words come fast, and my typing accurate. I know I have to write this while I’m in this mood, so tired, yet so perfectly poignant in my thinking about my day. I remember everything. I want to get this all down before I forget. At this point, I’m getting tunnel vision. Must keep typing. I feel the ghost of Kerouac pacing behind me whispering, “Yes, Yes, YES! Dig IT! GO, MAN GO!” I think I’m there. In eight minutes, I’ll have been up for 24 hours straight. I’m satisfied. I take another shower. I think to myself. I soap. I rinse. I can call it a day, a very satisfying full day.

I’ve been up for 24 hours and seven minutes, and I’ve turned out the light.

Posted by Rhombus 15:39 Archived in USA Tagged gardens parks flowers photography pizza portland Comments (3)

A Week of Photography of the River Lands

A Dozen River Views.

semi-overcast 67 °F

I don't have much to say this week. It's been a good week on the river, and I've been making the best of my time here. Of late I've been viewing the river scenes through the lens of my new camera. All in all, I'm happy with it, and I hope you continue to enjoy my takes on this amazing planet of ours. Without further ado, I give you a weekly dozen of delicious delectables courtesy of planet earth.

Cloud In Pastels.
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This cloud had a good vibe floating around on a sunny afternoon.

Vintage Picture
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Portland used to be a wild west town, full of violence, corruption and sin. This is a picture of one of the many saloons from the 1800s. When the Willamette River would flood, the shop owners would build scaffolding sidewalks and carry on their business as usual. This is a great picture of the era, showing the patrons of the saloon going to great lengths to get their booze.

I learned all of this by taking an interesting "Walking Tour of Portland". I went on the Portland Underground Tour which talked a lot about the darker side of early Portland. It was cool, and I'd recommend it if you are into history and want to learn more about the Old Town, and China Town of Portland.

Fountain of Old Town
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I like this fountain a lot. In years past it was a watering hole for horses and men.

High Desert Wrinkles
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Eastern Washington and Oregon is an endless landscape of highlands. It is quite beautiful to see these open lands. I had forgotten how expansive the western landscapes are.

Highland Landscape
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Along the Snake River are beautiful bluffs and overlooks. I want to hike to the top of this bluff to see what lies beyond.

Me and the Big Tree
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This mammoth tree can be found on the little island park near Cascade Locks. The Pacific Northwest is home to giant trees and this one made for a good climb. Long Live Giant Trees!

Sun Dappled Park Scene
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This is my favorite park in Clarkston, Washington. I've spent a lot of my time here, hanging out, slacklining, reading, eating breakfast, and contemplating the finer things in life.

Kite Surfer
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Wind Sports are very popular on the Columbia River as the wind is tunneled down through the gorge at very high speeds. This kite surfer was tearing it up catching rides of up to five seconds through the air.

The New Bell
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The Sea Bird has a new bell after we finally polished a hole in the old one. It only took 30 years. This one is a beautiful piece, crafted in Italy. It has a very warm tone that lasts a long time when tapped with the knuckle of a finger. I took this photograph one morning at dawn, and I'm quite pleased with it. It does the bell justice, and makes the sunrise far more interesting.

The Elder Statesman
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A peaceful scene on the Columbia River. The little park near the river at Cascade Locks is beautiful, and full of spectacular trees. This is one of them.

"Red Sky in the Morning.."
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The sky caught fire again. When the sky is red in the morning, it often signals low pressure and possible storms. In my experience the old addage proves correct more often than not.

The Tent City
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If you want to live in a colorful tent city and protest everything the government is doing, come to Portland and chill out in the park. I dug the tent city and wanted to join, as tent cities are a lot of fun.

Posted by Rhombus 08:10 Archived in USA Tagged parks rivers fountains oregon columbia photography washington Comments (0)

Cuyahoga Valley National Park

On the Cuyahoga River, Ohio and Erie Canal, Great Blue Herons, Fischer's Cafe and Pub

sunny 85 °F

I was looking at a map of northeast Ohio, and saw to my surprise that there was a national park not too far away from where I am hanging out this week. Who knew Ohio had a national park? I didn’t, but when in roam, make like the roamers, and so we headed on down to check out Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

Cuyahoga (pronounced Cay-uh-ho-guh) means “Crooked River” in Mohawk. It seems to me that every river I’ve ever encountered suffers from this same affliction. Are there straight rivers? Never make a deal with a river, it’ll probably gyp you out of something.

The Cuyahoga Valley has been the stomping grounds for man for eons,perhaps 12,000 years or so (but who’s counting?). In more recent history (the 1800‘s), the Ohio and Erie canal ran through here, partially watered by and parallel to the Cuyahoga. The canal also had an impressive system of locks, which allowed barges to make navigate the elevations between Akron and Cleveland. The canal was a huge success, and allowed settlers and trade goods to be passed along between Akron and Cleveland. In short, this canal helped open up Middle America for settlement.
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There isn’t much left of the canal today. It was abandoned in 1913, and nature has been slowly reclaiming its territory ever since. Today it’s a lush swampland full of plants wetland flowers and animals that love the water and thrive here.
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My adventure partner is a bit limited in her mobility just now, so we took it easy and went for a stroll on the Towpath trail, near Ira. We followed the white gravel trail until we crossed over a series of wooden walkways over a beaver pond marsh. Given our limited mobility, this seemed like a good place to see some wildlife, and I wasn’t disappointed.
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The beavers have done a terrific job of creating a beautiful wetland full of wildflowers, swamp grasses and reeds. This habitat provides a good home to a wide diversity of animals and insects including turtles, fish, frogs, herons, butterflies, bees and other birds.
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It took me 29 years to capture a good photograph of a great blue heron, and I had to go to Mexico to take it. I guess the first one is the hard one to get, because since that one, I’ve had no problems getting the herons to pose for me. Out on the boardwalk, one of these beautiful birds was sitting silently on a log not more than forty feet away from me. Knowing how long I had to wait for the first picture of one, I took the opportunity to take a few more.
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This particular heron sat motionless for some time, but then, slowly, moving its long sticklike legs very carefully and deliberately it began positioning its lanky body to snatch a fish out of the water. Herons like other water birds use slow movements and infinite patience to catch their prey off guard. The fish get used to seeing an unmoving heron standing in one place and grow complacent. Then when they aren’t suspecting, SNAP! They are in the long beak of the heron and down the gullet.
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I watched this heron do just that. It slowly uncoiled its body, and positioned its long neck closer and closer to the water. With surprising speed, it shot its beak into the water and snatched the fish. It happily ate it, and I watched the small lump travel all the way down the long heron neck.

Besides the heron, I was struck by the white water lilies that were in bloom on the surface of the water. They seemed to have a subtle grace and beauty to them that I found very alluring. I made several portraits of these flowers and couldn’t decide which I liked best, so I’ll let you decide.
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The trail was busy. It was full of families riding bikes, runners, joggers, lurchers (people who jog with weird strides), and walkers like us. It was a summer weekend, and it was good to see everyone out and about.

We finished off our visit with a stop in the small, picturesque little village of Peninsula. We ate lunch at Fischer’s Café and Pub, and it was very tasty. I’d eat there again, and recommend you stop in if you are in the area. I went for classic man food, a BBQ cheeseburger with fries, and it was delicious.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park isn’t a wild park. It’s pretty tame in comparison to some of the other national parks I’ve visited recently (Glacier Bay National Park, in Alaska), but it does have its charms. The history of the place, combined with the natural beauty found there make for a pleasant place to spend a day or two poking around. I would definitely go back, and would like to bike the length of the Towpath Trail.
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I didn’t see the entire park either, I’d like to check out Brandywine falls in autumn, and Tinkers Creek Gorge. I’d also like to see more of the canal, and see some of the rebuilt canal boats that used to navigate the canal. As I was just thinking about it, a possible interesting canoe trip would be to canoe the entire length of the Erie Canal, some 380 miles of it, but I’m not sure that’s even possible anymore.

I guess it’s safe to say, I’ll be back to the Cuyahoga Valley someday.

“The profit system follows the path of least resistance. Never follow the course of least resistance, because following the course of least resistance is what makes a river crooked. Hmph!” Utah Phillips

Posted by Rhombus 09:52 Archived in USA Tagged birds turtles food parks flowers insects photography ohio butterflies wetlands herons Comments (1)

Duluth Revisited

On Returning to Your Old City, Pastimes, and Habits. Also, The Death of a Camera.

semi-overcast 65 °F

I’ve finally found time to relax. I’ve had two weeks of “downtime” at my disposal and I decided to spend them rambling around my old stomping grounds near Duluth, Minnesota. It’s weird to come back to a city you used to know intimately. It’s almost like revisiting an old friend you haven’t talked to in a while, it could be really good, or perhaps not. Sometimes it’s best to leave some cities to the good memories you have instead of trying to relive them. Ultimately, I had some business to take care of in the area, and so I decided to spend a week. I wanted to visit some friends, practice some of my old pastimes including: getting my van back together, bouldering, slack lining, and taking a culinary cruise through some of my favorite restaurants.

It took a week to get my van back from the repair shop. I had planned ahead, but apparently I hadn’t planned far enough in advance (everyone likes a good mechanic) and so I had to wait for it to get ready before I could hit the road. A week of downtime is equivalent to a prison sentence to me. I was a bad customer, and kept calling them everyday. I couldn’t help it. When my vacation is winding away, I get impatient.

In truth, it was probably good for me to be grounded for a bit. I have a tendency to keep moving, without taking time or making time for things that are just as important to me as my vagabond lifestyle. Namely, my family. I’m not a great brother. I don’t call enough, I don’t visit enough, and I don’t write enough. I hope y’all can forgive me for me rascality. I’ve made some sacrifices to make this lifestyle possible, and unfortunately, my family bears the brunt of these sacrifices. The good news is they take it well enough, humoring themselves as they attempt to answer questions about my whereabouts.
“So where’s Thom these days?” asks some yawning distant relative.
“Well, he spent the winter in Mexico, but he just got off of the boat in Alaska, and he was in California for a bit, but now I think he went to West Virginia for the weekend to go rock climbing. Come to think of it he just got back, but left again, now he’s in Minnesota spending some time on the North Shore before he flies out to Alaska in a week.”

I like to think of my life as entertaining if nothing else. I’m just a squirrel trying to get a nut, just like everyone else. I happen to prefer to migrate instead of hibernating. The jury is still out on how I’ll turn out; I’m putting my money on “happy.”

Random Photos From My Sojourn

This is some of the coolest graffiti I've seen.
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I visited an old graveyard and was struck by the dilapidation and the green of the place. It was peaceful.
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It’s taken a bit of an adjustment to get back into this idle lifestyle after seven months at sea. The first night I slept out in my van, I felt alone for the first time in a long time. When I woke up to a beautiful morning of blue skies, white gold sunlight streaming though my windows, and all the lush greens of late spring in the Midwest, I felt at peace once again, and was reminded of why I love my van. Go to sleep with a view, that’s what I say. Who doesn’t like waking up to a gorgeous morning view?
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I’ve been getting reunited with the parks of the area. I stayed a couple of nights in Jay Cooke State Park. I went climbing along the shore just northeast of Duluth, solving one problem that I’ve been trying to solve since 2003. This reinforces the fact that I’m in the best shape of my life, at 30. I’ve slack lined at Brighton Beach, and also in Enger Park. Brighton beach is in east Duluth, and is a pleasant place to chill out on the lake and spend an afternoon balancing on your slack line. Enger Park is high up on the hill in west central Duluth. You can see it’s location from almost anywhere in Duluth, by looking at the high stone tower that stands high above the skyline. It is a pleasant park, full of cultivated flowers, a peace bell from Duluth’s sister city in Japan, that makes a rich metallic song when struck with the wood chime that resonates nicely through the park. There is also a beautiful little copse of mature hardwood trees. I really like the trees.
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I also spent two nights up at Temperance River State park, a mile south of Tofte. The Temperance River is an awesome example of the cutting power of water. The river descends down from the hills and has cut its way through a very narrow rock canyon. The river empties into Lake Superior, after coursing over a series of waterfalls. It’s a very cool park with a lot to offer the energetic vagabond. There is great hiking, long boarding, or biking, bouldering, swimming, and slack lining. The usual suspects…

Temperance River was also where I dispatched my camera to a finale. In other words, I killed it. I didn’t mean to of course, but these things happen. I had set up yet another self portrait at a secret spot of mine, and was in mid pose when I heard a “CRACK” and looked up in time to see my camera and tripod slide down the incline of a rock into a small pool of water. It had completely submerged itself, as if to reiterate the fact that it was dead. As I ran to it, I wondered if the last picture would turn out, I imagined some low angled shot of myself with a surprised look on my face, my mouth open in a tragic, “NOOOOOOOOO!”

I took out the battery and memory card, shook it, turned it on, and it briefly revived. Then nothing. I laughed. I honestly did. What can you do? It was my own fault, and I’m not one to dwell on things I can’t do anything about, so I laughed. It was a fitting end. I had taken well over 12,500 pictures with that camera, so it wasn’t like I didn’t use it. It had given me many great photos, and I’ll remember my first digital camera fondly. R.I.P.

Besides, now I have a new camera… :-D
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This is a picture of my friend Joe. He wanted some pictures of him on his motorcycle, and so he gets the honor of the first subject for my new camera.

One week to go, before I return to Alaska for two months. For now, Bon Voyage!

Post Script: On Food
Where to eat should you find yourself in the Duluth area.

Gordy’s Hi-Hat in Cloquet, MN. Classic Diner, great burgers.
Vintage Italian Pizza, in Duluth.
Texas Roadhouse in Duluth. Dynamite Steaks.
New London Café in Duluth. Cinnamon Strudel French Toast, aka Heaven on a plate.
Sir Benedict’s Tavern on the Lake. Great Sandwiches.

I offer this list as a good place to start, and nowhere near comprehensive. These restaurants just happen to be my favorites.

Posted by Rhombus 17:11 Archived in USA Tagged food parks cities cemetaries camping graffiti bouldering slacklining Comments (0)

A Sailor Hits Seattle

Sailing into Seattle, Spending Spree, Enjoying City Life after a 4 Month Abscense, Welcome to British Columbia

semi-overcast 45 °F

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We docked the boat at about seven in the evening on a huge pier just north of downtown Seattle. Our entrance to Seattle was a pleasant one. I was sipping tea, chatting with my friend Bill-who is from Seattle, and he was proudly telling me about his town. We leaned on the rail of the ship, sipping and watching the anchored cargo ships, and the downtown area come closer into view. I believe the rails of most ships are designed for deckhands to lean on. It’s a good, comfortable leaning spot, and no matter where you are in the world, you can see deckhands leaning on rails, watching the world go by.
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Almost the entire crew came out for the event, excited to be able to walk on solid ground again, after six days at sea. The captain did his thing, and we linesmen did ours. It was a smooth landing.

When the gangway was set in place, the crew eagerly bounded down it to walk on the cold concrete of the pier, some disappearing into the depths of the city some three miles distant. I was expecting to go to work, but the chief mate asked me if I had plans, and that I could begin my shift two hours later than I had figured.

With unexpected time on my hands, I found a couple of my friends who were going for a jog, and told them to wait for me. I threw on what I guessed were suitable jogging clothes, put on my dilapidated, unsupportive footwear I call sneakers and joined them. We happily and energetically ran around, hopping over concrete barriers and chatting amiably. It felt damn good to be free of the confines of our 152-foot world.

I watched this huge factory ship dock in the night. It's bow is taller than the top of our bridge deck.
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We ran downtown along a shoreline asphalt trail. The darkness of early night was closing in, but we didn’t care. When we reached the city, we walked up on of the seven hills on which Seattle was built. We continued downtown to Pikes Place Market for a cup of coffee before returning to the shift. It was a good run, and in good company. I’m not a runner, and I knew my feet were going to feel sore the next day after the pounding I gave them. I didn’t care. It was worth it.
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The next day, I awoke, threw on some clothes and walked back into downtown for a little adventure of my own. The day was full of signs of spring. There were large areas of fresh green grass with dandelions and daisies bobbing around in the breeze. The trees were budding, and little songbirds were perched high in them attempting to seduce one another with song. The skies were blue with occasional cloudy patches bringing in drizzle. It was warm enough for a tee shirt, then cold enough for a jacket, all in five minutes. I can’t begin to tell you how amazing it was to see a colorful landscape after five months in a desert.
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I love walking in cities, exploring through the hustle and bustle that residents take for granted.

I like looking at the little vignettes of city life: A woman cuddles into her man as he kisses her on the cheek. A pigeon lands briefly on a baby carriage (is this the right term anymore?) the bird and baby eye each other peacefully before the bird flew off. A man walks by me eating a cinnamon roll, and refusing to make eye contact with me. That’s the way of the city, nobody will look at you. I looked at everybody. I saw two elderly sisters standing the same way, walking the same, looking at their goal across the street; that being Macy’s. A young man looking street smart and hip waits for a bus while listening to his Ipod.

I was enthralled with the simple joys of a city after six months at sea.

I went on a sailor’s spree. I’ve a bit of money saved up for my toil and labor this winter. I didn’t spend much money down in Mexico. My nest egg is now full enough to spend at will (I realize that I probably gave the financially wise populace a heart attack). I’m boat rich; Easy come, easy go.

With nobody to keep me in check, I purchased a cinnamon roll, and a good cup of coffee ($3), some toiletries I needed ($30), an Ipod (my first, and I STILL can’t download itunes which makes it basically worthless)($160), I went into the map store on 1st Avenue and immediately bought two books I’ve been wanting to read. “The Natural Navigator” by Tristan Gooley and “As Told At The Explorers Club”($30). This particular store is very charming and very dangerous. I didn’t stay long, as I knew my weakness for maps. I finished off my day by going down to Pike Place Chowder for a bowl of chowder ($7) and getting one for the road ($7). Pikes Place Chowder is a very good bowl of chowder. In my opinion, there’s only one place on the west coast that makes a better bowl. I was satisfied with my efforts for the day, and walked back to the ship in good spirits.

The next day we sailed north into Canada and British Columbia. The first sunset of Canada was a memorable one. It was one that a picture can’t really do justice to, though I tried. To be in that moment, in that scene, was to be immersed in grandeur. I love being surrounded by glowing clouds and seascapes. There were only four of us who witnessed it, even after we told everyone to come and take it in. The fools, their noses were glued like mine is right now to their computers.
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For those of us who watched the evening unfold, it was a symphony in the sky, and a well composed one at that. The clouds were its greatest feature, lit up in colors I hadn’t known existed by the setting sun. It was one to remember, and I’ll do my best to do so.
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I’m now in Alaska…
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Posted by Rhombus 15:37 Archived in USA Tagged sky boats parks cities seascapes clouds sunsets oceans seattle Comments (3)

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